WUSA9 reporter Mola Lenghi said that he, photographer James Hash, and intern Taylor Bisciotti were in the Petworth area interviewing residents who lived there.
“We were doing a story on an app that describes ‘sketchy’ neighborhoods,” Lenghi said. “It led us to the Petworth neighborhood of Northwest, and I’m not going to call it a ‘sketchy’ neighborhood, but as folks were telling us that it was a good neighborhood, and that not much activity happens around there — as that was being told to us, our van was being robbed.”
“We got back to the news van,” he continued, “and noticed that the lock was popped out. Got in there, and noticed that all of our stuff was gone. I had a backpack full of electronics.”
Lenghi then turned to photographer James Hash, who said that he had two backpacks full of equipment that he had “built up over a career, 15 years.”
Taylor Bisciotti, the intern, had her iPhone stolen, but the crew was able to use the “Find my iPhone” application to track its location, eventually finding it — and much of the crew’s other gear — in a raccoon-infested dumpster in a different part of DC.
I gather the app in question works primarily by collating police incident reports, which would seem like a relatively solid way to establish that a particular area has experienced a troubling volume of recent crime - some of which might not be common knowledge among all the residents of the area, especially in the case of low-key non-violent property crimes. Closing your eyes because distasteful reality is politically incorrect rarely works out well.